The combination will tie together IBM’s Cloud Private platform and middleware services with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform. Those IBM platform and services will also be part of Red Hat’s Certified Containers program. The combo will allow customers to build and deploy containerized applications on a single, integrated container platform with a single view into that enterprise data.
Michael Elder, distinguished engineer for cloud at IBM, said the companies found that some of their shared customers were attempting this same marriage without official support.
“We found in many cases they were trying to use things they liked from the Red Hat layer and things they like from the IBM layer in a way that was not necessarily fully supported,” Elder said.
Elder noted that, for example, customers would run IBM’s middleware on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) OpenShift. Those middleware products include its WebSphere, MQ Series, and Db2 platforms. Customer will now be able to tap into those offerings from a single point of management and be fully supported.
“We wanted to leverage our joint strengths under one combined capability,” Elder said. He added that means those middleware products will be supported and released as certified RHEL containers along with a certified RHEL for IBM Cloud Private.
Elder described the move as pretty straightforward due to both companies investing heavily in open source container platforms like Kubernetes.
“Because we have open source in the catalog and Red Hat has open source in their catalog, it provides a way to mix and mingle content from IBM middleware alongside open source on a fully supported platform,” he said.
As an example, Elder said that where OpenShift has already been chosen as a container platform, IBM’s Cloud Private management layer can be deployed directly on top of OpenShift. This will also provide IBM’s middleware with access into that new infrastructure.
“The stack will be fully supported from the hypervisor up to the application layer,” Elder explained.
More to Come
The cloud giant is also set to piggyback on additional cloud provider support Red Hat is expected to announce this week.
“So this means that wherever Red Hat OpenShift is supported, IBM Cloud Private and content catalog will also be supported,” Elder said.
In addition to filling in the support gap, Elder said the combination will provide end users with greater management of their operational transformation.
“The mechanics are about containers and Kubernetes, but the real business value is about driving the engine that helps the digital transformation of your business,” Elder said. “It’s about how you manage change, and enable innovation, and manage costs.”
General availability of the fully integrated platform is expected later this year.
IBM launched its Private Cloud late last year. It’s built on Kubernetes and supports both Docker containers and Cloud Foundry. It’s designed to allow integration and portability of workloads between the cloud environment, as well as management across multiple clouds. This includes IBM Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and VMware on and off premises.